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Why You Need an Attorney for Misdemeanor Charges

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24 August, 2022

If you have been charged with a misdemeanor, you may be tempted to represent yourself in court. After all, the penalties for a misdemeanor are typically not as severe as those for a felony, and you may feel confident that you can explain your side of the story to the judge. 

However, there are several good reasons why you should consider hiring a defense attorney. First of all, misdemeanors can still result in jail time, and an experienced attorney will know how to argue for leniency on your behalf. Secondly, a conviction will go on your criminal record, which can make it difficult to find a job or housing in the future. Finally, an attorney can help ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process. 

If you are facing misdemeanor charges in Colorado, don’t try to go it alone. You can cushion the impact of your charges by getting the best defense attorneys in Colorado to represent you in court.

What is a Misdemeanor?

In the United States, criminal offenses are classified as felonies or misdemeanors. Felonies are major crimes that attract severe penalties such as lengthy jail terms or even death sentences, while misdemeanors may attract lower punishment. 

Most states have a one-year jail term limit for misdemeanors. As a result, you may be inclined to believe that misdemeanors do not affect your record. However, having a minor charge on your criminal record might have serious consequences. 

In Colorado, your jail term will vary based on the intensity of your crime. According to Colorado law, there are different classes of misdemeanors, and the judge will pass sentences based on the guidelines of the misdemeanor. 

An Overview of Colorado Misdemeanor Crime Classes and Penalties

Class 1 Misdemeanor

The most serious type of misdemeanor in Colorado is a Class 1 misdemeanor. These include property theft, unlawful sexual contact, indecent exposure, and criminal mischief. The average jail term that you may get for this crime is 6 to 24 months, depending on the circumstances surrounding your case. However, if you assault any health professional or a first responder, your jail term may be higher, ranging from 24 to 48 months. 

If you are accused of a class 1 misdemeanor, getting the most experienced defense attorney on your case is your best bet. This way, you stand a chance of getting a lower sentence. 

Class 2 Misdemeanor

Invasion of privacy, criminal trespass, and criminal tampering are some of Colorado’s more common class 2 misdemeanors. If found guilty of any of these charges, you may be sentenced to a minimum of three months and a maximum of 364 days in jail. 

Class 3 Misdemeanors

These are the least serious crimes that are considered misdemeanors in Colorado. They include harassment, prostitution, disorderly conduct, and firework offenses. If you are accused of such a misdemeanor, your punishment may range from a $50 fine to a $750 fine. You may also get a jail term of six to twelve months. The upside to such a crime is that you can have it expunged from your record.  

Unclassified Misdemeanors

In every state, some misdemeanors may not fully fit into the classes defined. They, therefore, fall into the “unclassified category.” For instance, gambling and some unique traffic offenses may not fall into the same category as other misdemeanors. In cases where the law points out a crime as a misdemeanor but does not give the guidelines on the jail term, the judge can sentence you to up to 364 days.  

What Are the Benefits of Hiring an Experienced Defense Lawyer?

You are probably weighing your options to see whether hiring a defense attorney is worth the extra buck you will have to pay. Well, it sure is. Having a lawyer on your side has numerous advantages. Here are just a few examples:

A Lawyer Will Help Protect Your Rights

Regardless of the allegations you face, you have the right to plead innocent and defend yourself. While it is feasible to represent yourself in court, hiring a lawyer will secure the best possible outcome because your defense counsel is well-versed in the law. They can examine any problem and devise a solution that protects your rights. If you’re in doubt, you can always consult them and find the best way forward. 

A Lawyer Will Help You Avoid Criminal Records

If you are a first-time offender, you are most likely concerned about the fate of your criminal record. You don’t want the misdemeanor on your record to tarnish your reputation. Having defense attorneys represent you in court can assist you in avoiding such charges. Your lawyer can have your charges dropped or even erased from your record.

A Lawyer Will Help You Avoid Heavy Punishments

Your punishment may differ based on the severity of your crime and the classification of your misdemeanor. However, if you plead guilty, having a great defense attorney will lessen your sentence or the punishment the judge imposes on you. A skilled attorney will know how to negotiate a favorable sentence with the judge.

A Lawyer Will Appear in Court on Your Behalf

When you are charged with a misdemeanor, the world does not come to a halt. There may be occasions when you must attend an essential work meeting or be present for your loved ones. This is where your lawyer comes in.

Your attorney can appear in court on your behalf if you have a legitimate reason to be absent. This is especially useful if you are unable to attend court. For example, if you are very ill and unable to appear in court, having your attorney accompany you would be ideal.

A Lawyer Will Give You Specialized Attention

The state has the legal right to provide you with a defense attorney for your case. While this may be less expensive than employing your own defense attorneys, it may not be the best solution to your problem.

State defenders frequently work with a large number of criminals, making it difficult to focus on your case and give it the attention it deserves. On the other hand, private defense attorneys will devote their whole attention to your case. Depending on your agreement and hourly charges, you may have enough time to discuss your case with your private defense attorneys and devise a way out of the mess you are in. 

What Should You Do if You Are Arrested for a Misdemeanor?

Whether it is your first or seventh time being arrested, you are bound to freak out. Sadly, most people get into more trouble due to irresponsible behavior during an arrest. So, what should you do if you are arrested for a misdemeanor? 

Do Not Resist Arrest

The first tip you should always have in mind any time a police officer approaches you is never to resist arrest. In most states, that crime will attract additional penalties to your misdemeanor. It gets even worse if you violently assault the arresting police officer. 

Remain calm during the entire period of your arrest and respectfully ask why they are arresting you. You have a right to know why the police are arresting you.

Ask For Your Attorney

The next thing you should do is request an attorney. With all the tension surrounding your arrest, you need a voice of reason to help you figure out your next steps. And who better to do the job than your defense attorney

During an arrest, one of your most important rights is the right to legal representation. You should be allowed to call your attorney after an arrest.

Remain Silent

Another thing you should do is keep silent during the entire arrest period. One of the things that your arresting police officer should inform you is that you “have the right to remain silent since anything that you say may be used against you in a court of law.” Sometimes the officer may ask questions that may incriminate you in the long run. Even when the questions seem innocent and harmless, do not engage with the officers until you speak to your defense attorney.

Most defense attorneys advise that clients should not speak to the police without their legal representative.  

Remember the Details of Your Arrest

Things may happen so fast during your arrest that some of them escape your notice. However, it will pay to remember everything that happens. In cases where your rights were violated, you may have a slight chance of getting a lighter sentence or getting the charges dropped altogether.

So try your best to remember every word the officer said and every action they made during your arrest. Narrate all that to your defense attorney as soon as you can. 

Let Us Fight Your Case for You!

You might have heard stories of people getting outrageous sentences for minor misdemeanors. Without legal representation, you may worsen your situation and incriminate yourself when you take the stand. Fortunately, you do not have to go through your trial alone.

Contact the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani, LLC, and let us fight for you. Our defense attorneys are the best in Colorado and have the best training and experience to get you through any charges and come out with a favorable outcome. Whether you are innocent or guilty, we are here to help. We believe in second chances, and we will help you convince the judge and jury as well. Reach us today and start building your defense.

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